Orbitally active and highly correlated spin systems
Our group is exploring a series of layered compounds based on orbitally active transition metal ions coordinated on a triangular lattice of edge-sharing octahedra. These transition metal ion layers are separated by sheets of highly mobile alkali ions. Compounds with this basic structure type have long been explored as promising cathode materials; however they also have a rather underexplored propensity for emergent electronic states. Elements of strong electronic correlations, ordered vacancy states, frustrated magnetism, and orbital degeneracies render these materials a rich frontier for discovering new states ranging from quantum spin liquids, to unconventional superconductivity, to intertwined spin and orbital orders. We are actively working to synthesize high purity forms of these materials and explore their electronic and structural phase behaviors via neutron and x-ray scattering techniques.